Saturday, December 8, 2018

Prophecy Fulfilled 007

Nephi saw in vision many multitudes of gentiles 1 Nephi 13:14 from various nations and kingdoms 1 Nephi 13:1-3 who crossed the many waters 1 Nephi 13:13 to settle in the promised land.
Artist's Conception of Europeans Arriving in the New World
How many were multitudes? The text uses the term "multitude" to describe the divine capacity for mercy 1 Nephi 8:8, unnumbered masses of humanity 1 Nephi 8:30-31, 33, the size of audiences gathered to hear the Savior during his mortal ministry 1 Nephi 11:28, afflicted people healed by the Savior during his lifetime 1 Nephi 11:31, and enemies of the first-century Apostolic Church 1 Nephi 11:34-35. The Nephite text also uses an augmentative phrase implying out sized or unusually large numbers: "multitudes of people, yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea" 1 Nephi 12:1 and Mormon 1:7. Lehi's descendants in the New World were multitudes as numerous almost as the sands of the sea.

So, according to the Book of Mormon, the multi-national gentiles coming to the New World in the Age of Discovery would be multiple groups, each perhaps numbering in the hundreds of thousands, while the indigenous population at European contact would be a much larger number. History and science explicitly corroborate the fulfillment of these prophecies in appropriate proportion.

We know from history about how many Europeans emigrated to the Americas from various countries in the 1492 (Columbus) - 1783 (Treaty of Paris ending the US Revolutionary War) time frame. These are the numbers:
  • Great Britain (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) 722,000
  • Spain 437,000
  • Portugal 100,000
  • Germany & Switzerland 100,000
  • France 51,000
That's a total of 1,410,000 gentiles from 9 countries, not including smaller numbers of emigrants from the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Greece, etc. Source: Ida Altman & James Horne, editors, To Make America: European Emigration in the Early Modern Period, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991).

The pre-contact population of the Americas has been the subject of intense academic scrutiny by historical demographers for decades. A widely-accepted figure of 53,904,000 comes from William M. Denevan, editor, The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, Second Edition, (Madison and London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1992). Denevan's estimates:
  • North America (US and Canada) 3,790,000
  • Mexico 17,174,000
  • Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize) 5,625,000
  • Caribbean 3,000,000
  • Andes (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela) 15,696,000
  • South America (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile) 8,619,000
1.4 million gentile emigrants to America from multiple countries between 1492 and 1783 precisely fulfill Nephi's prophecy in 1 Nephi 13:14. Much larger numbers of natives in the Americas at contact precisely fulfill Nephi's prophecy in 1 Nephi 12:1 and corroborate Mormon's observation in Mormon 1:7.